lewloh Opens Up on the Striking 'michigan/missinghim' [Q&A]
Today sees the release of lewloh's michigan/missinghim, a 13-track tour de force rife with emotion and sonic exploration. We had the chance to sit down with lewloh and gain further insight into his latest project and the artist behind the magic.
Who is lewloh? How is your "artist self" different from Lewis the individual?
The main difference between lewloh and myself the individual, is that he isn't afraid to share openly about his pain, trauma and learnings. He is the eloquent version of me, and takes the time to process his emotions to communicate them efficiently. I'm also more introverted than lewloh. I enjoy solitude and gaming whereas he enjoys meeting new people and listening to their stories.
What is "terminal" about? What made it pair so well as a duet?
"terminal" is about inevitable endings. I wrote this with my friend Gabbi Gots, about a week after a breakup and was sharing this feeling I had during the relationship about almost knowing that its ending was nearing. Because of the long distance narrative that was woven into the song, I felt that this story was best told as a duet. I knew Julia Gartha would be an amazing fit for the song and so I Facetimed her out of the blue one night, and just hoped she'd be onboard (and she was!!)
What influenced the song, is it in on trend with the rest of your release michigan/missinghim? Or is it different and why?
"terminal" is track seven on the album, and signifies a major turning point in the story. It goes from 'dance around him' which is all about avoiding talking about the problems in a relationship, to acknowledging that this love isn't strong enough to resist its inescapable ending. Sonically, I also feel that it is the most pop sounding track on the record and will hopefully make your body dance in sadness.
How does your songwriting background help you write music, is it more structured? Thematic? Is it liberating or difficult knowing song structure?
My songwriting background helps me to be even more intentional about my writing. Every decision I make be it lyrical, melody or form, is to support the overarching narrative I wanted to tell with michigan/missinghim. In the past I'd just trust my instincts blindly, but now I feel like I understand my instincts. Just like a baker with all their newer and more efficient kitchen tools, they are empowered to come up with new recipes, whilst saving time by avoiding simple mistakes.
Southeast Asia appears to be a real hotbed of third culture pop; is that new? Or are people just starting to take appropriate notice?
It's a mix of both. I think there is a growing interest across SEA, towards cultural diversity and people having different stories to tell… and so whilst there are new third culture pop acts popping up, there have also been many existing story tellers in the field finally getting attention.
How does identity factor into your music if at all; is it a backdrop? A source of emotions? Or just a point of catharsis?
I believe that one's identity dictates everything about their art. The way I communicate and express my ideas is decided by my upbringing, perspective and level of awareness. My identity helps to distill my experiences into (hopefully) relatable and digestible songs.
What are your hopes and dreams for this release? Where do you want your music to take you?
I really hope that I'll be able to tour this album, and meet listeners from around Asia that have been supporting the music and I for a while. I'm also excited for this project to be added into my catalog, and hopefully be synced to some tv shows. Honestly, I'm already very grateful to be doing music full-time, and so if this album can continue to support my living, I'd be more than content.
Is there anything in music people should be paying more attention to? Specifically from Singapore?
I think people should be paying more attention to the messages embedded in lyrics, and reflecting more on how it may apply to themselves.
Who are your Ones to Watch?
My Ones to Watch are Umar Sirhan, Lincoln Lim and Vivien Yap.